Farm History

Sierra Magnifica’s Roots…

Sierra Magnifica Christmas Tree Farm in Placerville, CA, was first established in 1968 by George Caruthers, a local El Dorado County man.
George had enjoyed a 20-year career in  Surveying on hydroelectric projects in and around the Crystal Mountain Range area of the Sierras, 15 years of which he spent with Bechtel power Corporation.

Using the skills he had acquired as a Surveyor, George had carefully selected his farm land specifically for the purpose of planting Christmas Trees and for it’s northern exposure that would best support the very popular and beautiful Silver Tip Christmas Trees.

Clearing the Land

No Christmas Tree farm had existed on the land previously when George purchased the 20 acre parcel, so there was considerable work to be done to clear the land and prepare the soil for planting.

After methodically planning his farm and preparing the soil, George and a crew of family members and friends got to work planting White Fir trees that Spring. The following year, he added Silver Tip, and in 1970, he added Douglas Fir.

His “backyard forest” was beginning to take shape!

In the years that followed, George and his helpers continued planting, and today, more than 40 years later, he still plants trees. He laughingly says he can’t even estimate the number of trees he has on his 20 acre farm, but he assures, “there are a bunch of them!”

Each year, George sells Silver Tip, White Fir, Douglas Fir, and Incense Cedar. Later, in 2003, he added Noble Firs to his offering, though harvestable Nobles are still somewhat few in numbers at the present time.

HOW old is that tree?

Planting, tending, and harvesting trees is a lengthy proposition. For example, a favorite choice among visitors, the Silver Tips can take as much as 15 years to mature enough to harvest, and most take at least 8-12 years. Harvestable trees are generally kept to a minimum height of 8’ at Sierra Magnifica, so that’s a lot of years of careful nurturing!

The specific type of care that is required to plant and harvest each tree variety can vary widely, but each and every tree requires careful tending. Other trees, such as Douglas Firs, grow more readily, but they require “shearing” in order to grow properly. And each and every tree that has been cut requires individual attention after each harvest season to ensure the success of it’s next “generation”.

Keeping it “Green” through Sustainable Agriculture

Not only does Sierra Magnifica sell evergreens, they practice “green” methods of sustainable agriculture. Through the use of careful “stump bud culturing” and well-researched fertilization methods, they cultivate new trees from the stumps of ones that have been previously cut, rather than killing the trees and planting anew. “Clear Cutting” trees is a non-existent concept here. They also utilize highly efficient drip irrigation systems to make the best use of available water resources. Even their tree packaging nets are made from biodegradable materials!

Now Four Generations!

As all throughout Sierra Magnifica’s 40+ years of operation, George and Sherry still enjoy return visits from now four generations of their customers’ families.

Family-owned and with family helpers consisting of George’s Son, Daughter, Son-in-Law, Daughter-in-Law, Granddaughter, Grandson, and even his Great Grandaughter, the whole crew at Sierra Magnifica looks forward to meeting you and your family as well!